DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will wrap up its regular season when it meets the University of Hartford on Sunday, Feb. 27 (3 p.m.) at Chase Arena. The game will decide the No. 6 and 7 seeds for the upcoming America East tournament. The game will be aired live on MyTV, as well as on the Connecticut Sports Network. Links to live audio and live video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com.
The Wildcats and Hawks meet for the 55th time ever in the history of the two programs, with Hartford leading the all-time series, 34-20. The last 20 meetings have been even, as well as the last 10 meetings. Each team has also played well on their home court, as well. The Wildcats have won nine of 10 and six of seven against the Hawks at Lundholm Gymnasium, while the Hawks have won eight of nine against the 'Cats at Chase Arena. Hartford won in Durham last season for the first time since an 85-58 win Jan. 28, 2004, and UNH won at Hartford in 2009 for the first time since an 80-78 triumph Jan. 12, 2002. The 'Cats and Hawks had split the regular-season series four straight times until UNH swept it in 2009 and Hartford swept it last year. In the most recent meeting Jan. 11, Tyrone Conley scored 25 of his career-high 33 points in the second half, helping the Wildcats rally from a 16-point deficit to earn a 57-54 victory against Hartford at Lundholm Gymnasium.
UNH, in earning its first America East conference victory of the season, snapped a four-game skid to improve to 7-9 on the year, 1-3 in league play. The Hawks saw their three-game winning streak halted, tumbling to 5-11, 2-1 in AE play.
The 33 points were the most for a Wildcat since Nov. 25, 2000 when Austin Ganly poured in 34 in a 96-89 victory at Dartmouth. The 33 is also the most for an America East player this season, surpassing the 32 points Boston University's Darryl Partin racked up against Cornell on Nov. 27.
Conley's magical night included a personal-best 10 field goals in 16 attempts, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc, 7-for-8 at the free throw line and a throwdown dunk on the receiving end of an alley-oop from sophomore Chandler Rhoads, staking the 'Cats to a 52-47 advantage with 6:40 remaining. Conley, UNH's America East Player of the Game, added five rebounds, two steals and a block in 40 minutes.
Morgan Sabia led Hartford in the losing cause, going 8-for-13 for 20 points to earn America East Player of the Game honors.
Trailing 30-18 at halftime, the Wildcats put together a 20-2 run early in the second half on the strength of six straight 3-point field goals, with Conley burying four treys and scoring 14 of the points during the spurt that gave New Hampshire a 38-32 lead with 14:42 remaining in the game.
Rhoads finished with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting, and a game-high four assists.
An 8-1 run gave Hartford a 40-39 lead with 12:01 to play, but a Conley trey and a pair of free throws from freshman DeAndray Buckley put UNH back on top, 44-40, midway through the half. After a Milton Burton basket, another Conley triple made it 47-42 with 9:13 remaining.
Hartford answered with a 3-pointer of its own before junior Brian Benson canned one from the top of the key to push the lead back to five. A Sabia layup brought the Hawks within three before the Rhoads-to-Conley alley-oop that brought down the house.
Four straight from the Hawks sliced their deficit to one, 52-51, with 2:32 to play before a Rhoads layup just 12 seconds later opened the lead to three. Sabia drilled a 3 at the other end to tie the game at 54 with 1:10 on the clock. Conley closed the scoring with 1 of 2 at the line with 44 seconds left and then a pair with 21 ticks remaining before Burton's last-second 3-point attempt was no good.
The Wildcats shot 66.7 percent (12-18) from the floor in the second half, which is their best field goal percentage in any half since Jan. 28, 2009 when they also hit at a 66.7 percent (14-21) clip in the second stanza to erase a nine-point deficit and earn a 71-60 victory at Stony Brook University.
Benson tallied seven points, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal in a career-high 36 minutes, while Buckley chipped in with four points and two assists in 12 minutes.
Hartford applied a 1-3-1 zone defense that stymied New Hampshire into committing 15 turnovers and shooting only 5 of 15 during the first half. The Hawks capitalized offensively, hitting 6-of-10 three-point field goals in the half, including a perfect 3-for-3 from Genesis Maciel, to open as large as a 16-point lead before heading to the locker room with a 30-18 advantage.
UNH shot a season-high 51.5 percent (17-33) from the floor, including 47.4 percent (9-19) from behind the arc. Hartford shot 40 percent (20-50) from the floor, as well as 40 percent (8-20) from deep. The Wildcats also held a 28-23 advantage on the glass. Hartford turned the ball over just eight times while forcing 20 UNH turnovers as they held a 22-11 edge in points off turnovers.
Conley finished the night with 1,069 points and moved past Eric Montanari (1,038) for 20th place on UNH's all-time scoring list.
LAST TIME OUT
Playing in their final career home game, senior Dane DiLiegro recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Tyrone Conley scored a team-high 16 points, but the Wildcats dropped a 70-53 decision to Maine on Feb. 22 at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The loss dropped the Wildcats to 12-16 on the season, with an America East record of 6-9. The Black Bears snapped a six-game losing streak to improve to 15-13, 9-6 in the conference.
DiLiegro, UNH's America East Player of the Game, posted his seventh double-double of the year and the 15th of his career. The 6-foot, 9-inch center hit four of his five field goal attempts and shot 6 of 8 from the free throw line. Conley went 5 of 15 from the floor, including 2 of 8 from 3-point distance, and added four rebounds. Sophomore Chandler Rhoads was also in double figures with 11 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists.
Gerald McLemore, who scored a career-high 30 at Lundholm Gym last season, poured in a game-high 26 points, shooting a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line and 7 of 16 from the floor to earn America East Player of the Game honors for the Black Bears.
UNH and Maine were tied twice in the first half, but the Wildcats were never able to claim the lead before the intermission. The Black Bears shot at a 51.9-percent clip, hitting 14 of 27 first-half shots, with 11 of their field goals coming from inside the paint. McLemore had 12 points at the half on 5 of 10 shooting from the floor and 2 of 2 from the free throw line.
The Wildcats climbed to within eight at 39-31 just two minutes into the second half, but a 15-5 run from Maine ran its lead up to 18 at 54-36 midway through the half. The Black Bears grabbed their largest lead of the game at 60-39 with 7:05 to go on a layup by Alasdair Fraser. UNH cut it to 15 three minutes later, but would not get closer than that.
Maine outshot UNH, 49 percent (25-51) to 35.3 percent (18-51), despite going 0-for-8 from behind the arc. The Black Bears made up for it by holding a commanding 42-24 margin in the paint and outrebounding the Wildcats, 36-30.
Conley finished the night with 1,272 career points and moved past Dan Nolan (1,258) for seventh place on UNH's all-time scoring list.
WHAT'S THE DEAL?
With a win in their regular-season finale against Hartford on Feb. 27, the Wildcats will earn the No. 6 seed in the America East tournament and take on third-seeded Maine at 8:15 p.m. in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, March 5. A loss to Hartford will make the 'Cats the seventh seed and will pit them against No. 2 Boston U. in the 6:15 p.m. game.
In their 70-53 loss against Maine on Feb. 22, the Wildcats gave up 70 points for the first time in 15 games. The last time a UNH opponent had cracked 70 was Dec. 30 when VCU put up 78 on the 'Cats.
The senior class that was honored on Senior Day, prior to the game against Maine on Feb. 22, is one of the best to have come through Durham. Not only are they just the second class to have made back-to-back America East Championship semifinal appearances, but they are also just one victory shy of matching the record for wins by a senior class in program history.
WINS BY CLASS
1. 1970-71 – 1973-74 49
1982-83 – 1985-86 49
3. 1923-24 – 1926-27 48
2007-08 – 2010-11 48
5. 1981-82 – 1984-85 47
1993-94 – 1996-97 47
With a pair of blocks in their 65-59 victory at Binghamton on Feb. 5, the 2010-11 Wildcats jumped onto the program's top-five single-season blocks list. They currently sit in third place all-time, 12 from second and just 15 blocks away from tying the record.
1. 1999-00 101
2. 1998-99 98
3. 2010-11 81
4. 2008-09 84
5. 1997-98 83
TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
After turning the ball over more than their opponent in eight consecutive games from Dec. 18-Jan. 11 (-6.3 TO margin), the Wildcats have done so just three times in their last 12 contests (+2.4).
NOT TURNING OVER
Over the last eight games, freshman point guard Jordon Bronner has collected 29 assists and turned the ball over just 12 times.
ON A TEAR
Senior Tyrone Conley has been piling up the points over his last 22 games. During that stretch, which includes a career-best 13-game double-digit scoring streak, as well as a career-high 33-point performance against Hartford on Jan. 11, Conley is averaging 16.1 ppg.
Sophomore Chandler Rhoads has turned his offensive game up a notch over the last 17 games. During that stretch, which includes a career-high 20 points against Vermont on Jan. 20, Rhoads is averaging 11.5 ppg. Rhoads, who recorded four games of 10-plus points during his rookie campaign, already has 17 such games this season.
BENSON IS BOARDING...AND MORE
Junior Brian Benson is having the best season of his career on the glass. Benson is second on the team and third in the conference at 7.9 rebounds per game. Over 21 contests from Dec. 9-Feb. 19, which included a career-best 22-rebound performance at Stony Brook on Jan. 15, Benson averaged 9.0 boards per game. Over 11 games from Nov. 30-Jan. 11, Benson shot 25-for-53 (.472) from the field and 8-for-21 (.381) from behind the arc to raise his percentages to .391 and .320, respectively, after starting 2-for-16 (.125) from the floor and 0-for-4 from 3.
NATIONALLY-RANKED (AS OF FEB. 20)
The Wildcats are 17th in the nation in scoring defense (60.2 ppg), 45th in field goal percentage defense (.404) and 76th in turnovers per game (12.4), while individually, Tyrone Conley is 72nd in 3-point field goals made per game (2.5) and 76th in 3-point field goal percentage (.319), and Dane DiLiegro (8.4) and Brian Benson (8.1) are 68th and 78th, respectively, in rebounding.
HOLDING 'EM UNDER 80
The Wildcats have yet to allow 80 or more points in a single game this season, the deepest any UNH team has made it into the schedule without allowing an opponent to reach the 80-point mark. No UNH team has gone an entire season without allowing 80 or more points in a game since the 1949-50 campaign. The 'Cats also went 15 straight games from Dec. 30-Feb. 19 without allowing an opponent to crack 70.
RANDOM "RECORD WHEN..." TIDBITS
The Wildcats are 9-5 when scoring first, 10-4 when leading at halftime, 7-3 when outscoring their opponent in the paint and 7-2 when shooting 40 percent or better from the floor, including 4-0 when shooting over 50 percent. Defensively, the 'Cats are 10-3 when holding their opponent to 60 points or less.
CLOSE AND LATE
After going 15-32 from 2005-06 through last season, the Wildcats are 7-2 this year in games decided by five points or less.
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into Sunday's contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 581 consecutive games, a streak that spans 20 years. The last time the 'Cats did not tally a trey was in a 59-47 loss to Dartmouth College on Jan. 8, 1991, when they were 0-for-3 from behind the arc. The NCAA record is currently 801 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.
The Wildcats are 19-9 (.679) in their last 28 home contests dating back to 2008-09. The 'Cats finished last season 9-4 at home, their best mark since the 1994-95 campaign when they were 8-2 in Durham.
'CATS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
The Wildcats are currently leading the America East conference in points allowed per game (60.5). Individually, a handful of 'Cats are among the top 10 in a number of categories. Tyrone Conley is third in 3-point field goals made per game (2.5), fourth in both scoring (15.3) and minutes per game (34.6), fifth in steals per game (1.3) and eighth in blocked shots per game (0.8). Dane DiLiegro is second in rebounding (8.5), third in field goal percentage (.525) and ninth in free throw percentage (.743). Brian Benson is third in rebounding (7.9) and fourth in blocked shots per game (1.1). Chandler Rhoads is eighth in assists per game (2.7).
CONFERENCE COACHING CONQUESTS
Head coach Bill Herrion is currently tops among active coaches and third overall in America East regular-season conference victories. Herrion's 143 conference wins are far and away better than the league's other eight coaches and trail only former Boston University head coach Dennis Wolff (152) and long-time Vermont head man Tom Brennan (147) all-time.
The Wildcats exploded in the first half of their 63-46 win at UMBC on Feb. 12. They closed the final 9:34 of the opening half on a 21-0 run to take a commanding 39-10 lead into the locker room. The 29-point halftime lead is the Wildcats' largest of the season, while the 39 points are a first-half season high, surpassing the 38 they put up in the opening half of their 80-60 win against the Retrievers on Jan. 23 at Lundholm Gymnasium. The 10 points are also a season low for a UNH opponent in any half this season and a program-record low for UMBC since they began playing in Division I.
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE
In their 63-46 win at UMBC on Feb. 12, the Wildcats locked down the Retrievers, allowing the fewest points to a Division I opponent since they held UMBC to 45 at RAC Arena on Jan. 25, 2007. During a 23-0 run that spanned both halves and led to a 41-10 advantage - UNH's largest against a Division I opponent this season - the Wildcats held UMBC without a field goal for 10:49. The 'Cats also turned that defense into instant offense, scoring 24 points off of 21 forced turnovers.
Seniors Tyrone Conley and Dane DiLiegro poured in 25 and 21 points, respectively, in the Wildcats' 63-46 win at UMBC on Feb. 12. It marked the first time two 'Cats scored 20 in the same game since Conley and classmate Alvin Abreu each netted 21 against Vermont on Jan. 27, 2010.
BRAINS AND BRONN(ER)
Freshman point guard Jordon Bronner netted a career-high 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting to go along with two assists in 34 minutes against Stony Brook on Feb. 9.
POURING IT ON
The Wildcats used their best shooting performance of the year to sink Binghamton, 65-59, Feb. 5. They shot a season-high 52.3 percent (23-44) from the field, including 41.2 percent (7-17) from long distance. At the third media timeout of the opening half with 7:59 remaining, the 'Cats were 11-for-14 (78.6%) from the floor and 5 of 6 (83.3%) from behind the arc. They eventually finished the half at 54.5 percent (12-22) overall and 45.5 percent (5-11) from 3.
MORE DOUBLE-DOUBLES FOR DOUBLE D
With 14 points and 10 rebounds against Binghamton on Feb. 5, senior Dane DiLiegro recorded his fifth double-double of the season and the 13th of his career. DiLiegro had never had more than four double-doubles in a season before his performance against the Bearcats. Joined by his 12-point, 11-rebound performance against Albany on Feb. 2, it is the first time in his career DiLiegro has produced double-doubles in consecutive games.
UPDATING THE RECORD BOOK
With their 10th win of the season Feb. 2 against Albany, the Wildcats have put together three straight double-digit win seasons for the first time since 1971-72 to 1973-74. They have also now crafted a streak of eight straight nine-plus win seasons for the first time since a nine-season run from 1918-19 to 1926-27.
PLENTY OF REBOUNDS TO GO AROUND
In their 62-59 overtime win against Albany on Feb. 2, junior Brian Benson recorded 14 rebounds, while senior Dane DiLiegro pulled in 11 boards. It marked the first time a pair of Wildcats have recorded 10-plus rebounds in the same game since DiLiegro and Mike Christensen pulled down 12 and 11, respectively, March 8, 2008 in an America East quarterfinal tilt against Hartford.
Junior Brian Benson swatted six shots in the Wildcats' 62-59 overtime victory against Albany on Feb. 2. Benson, who was not on either of UNH's top-10 blocks lists coming into the contest, is now sixth on both the program's all-time and single-season blocks lists.
ESPNU BRACKETBUSTER OPPONENT REVEALED
The Wildcats learned Jan. 31 that they will be facing Marist in a non-televised ESPNU BracketBusters matchup Feb. 19 (7:30 p.m.) at the McCann Center. It will be the third straight year the teams have played each other, with the 'Cats winning on their home court last season, and Marist squeaking out a victory at McCann the year before. The Wildcats won their first ever BracketBusters game last season, 61-60, at Loyola (Md.) on a Tyrone Conley runner in the lane with 0.7 seconds left. Marist is 2-3 all-time in the BracketBusters event, which is in its eighth season.
Coming into their Jan. 31 meeting with the Wildcats, Vermont had outrebounded its opponent in 16 of 21 games, including eight of nine in conference play. UNH ended up winning the battle on the glass, 35-31.
STOPPING THE SKID
With their 60-48 win against Boston U. on Jan. 25, the Wildcats snapped their seven-game losing streak against the Terriers. UNH's previous win against its Boston rival came in a 60-55 victory Feb. 11, 2007 at Lundholm. The 12-point margin of victory was the Wildcats' largest against the Terriers since their 73-60 win at home Feb. 9, 1995, while BU's season-low 48 points were the fewest it had scored against the 'Cats since a 48-38 win during the 1941-42 season.
LEASHING THE TERRIERS
In their 60-48 win against Boston U. on Jan. 25, the Wildcats held the Terriers to just 26.9 percent (14-52) shooting from the floor, matching their lowest opponent field goal percentage since Jan. 2, 2005 when the 'Cats held UMBC to the same 14 of 52 performance in a 60-41 road win. The 14 field goals BU made also match a season low for a Wildcat opponent this season (Sacred Heart).
UNDERCLASSMEN LEAD THE WAY
In their 64-50 loss at Maine on Jan. 25, the Wildcats were led in scoring by sophomore Chris Matagrano (8) and freshman Jordon Bronner (7). It marked just the second time all season that a senior was not one of the two leading scorers, and was the first time no Wildcats reached double figures since Jan. 11, 2009 when Tyrone Conley and Alvin Abreu netted nine and eight points, respectively, in a 68-37 loss at Boston U.
With just five points against Maine on Jan. 25 after playing in foul trouble for nearly the the entire game, senior Tyrone Conley saw his career-best 13-game double-digit scoring streak come to an end. Conley averaged 15.8 ppg during the streak, which began with 11 points at Colgate on Dec. 4. Sophomore Chandler Rhoads also saw his career-best five-game double-digit scoring streak (14.2 ppg) halted at Maine.
Senior Tyrone Conley and sophomore point guard Chandler Rhoads have been carrying the Wildcats after they were hit hard by injuries this season. Over five games from Jan.8-23, Conley averaged 20.8 ppg, while Rhoads added 14.2 ppg. It marked the first time this season that any two Wildcats have averaged better than 14.0 ppg in any five-game stretch.
LEADING AT THE HALF
With their 80-60 victory against UMBC on Jan. 23, the Wildcats snapped a three-game losing skid when leading at the break and are now 6-4 this season when ahead at the half.
In their 80-60 win against UMBC on Jan. 23, the Wildcat offense errupted for season highs in points (80), 3-pointers made (14) and 3-point field goal percentage (51.9%). They also dished out a season-high 17 assists on 26 baskets and turned the ball over a season-low eight times. The 'Cats, of course, jumped into the action on the defensive end, as well, blocking a season-best nine shots.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE B
Junior Brian Benson recorded the first double-double of his career against UMBC on Jan. 23 when he scored a career-high 15 points and reeled in 16 rebounds. Benson also matched a career best with five blocks and handed out an assist while not turning the ball over in 34 minutes.
ALL IN A DAY'S WORK...
Senior Tyrone Conley continues to produce eye-popping stat lines for the 'Cats. In their 80-60 win against UMBC on Jan. 23, Conley poured in 22 points on 8 of 15 shooting, including 6 of 11 from behind the arc. The co-captain also matched a season high with six boards, set a career-high with seven assists, matched a career best with three blocks and recorded two steals in 37 minutes.
Freshman Jordon Bronner had his best game in a Wildcat uniform against UMBC on Jan. 23. In 23 minutes, Bronner netted a career-high eight points, handed out a career-best five assists (one turnover) and pulled in three rebounds.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CHARITY
In their 61-53 loss against Vermont on Jan. 20, the Wildcats shot 93.8 percent (15-16) from the line, their best mark with more than five attempts since Feb. 23, 2006 when they were also 15 of 16 at home against Albany.
CONLEY EARNS FIRST WEEKLY AWARD
Senior Tyrone Conley earned his first career America East Player of the Week award on Jan. 17. Conley shared the award with Boston University's John Holland after averaging 23.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block per game during the previous week.
Junior Brian Benson tore down a career-high 22 rebounds in a career-most 42 minutes at Stony Brook on Jan. 15. The 22 boards are five shy of UNH's single-game record and the second most rebounds ever for a Wildcat, matching Dave Pemberton, who also reeled in 22 against Boston University on Jan. 3, 1972. It is also the first 20-rebound game for a 'Cat since Chris Brown recorded 20 boards at Boston University on Feb. 10, 2002. The 22 rebounds are an America East season high, as well as the fifth most rebounds ever in an America East conference game.
In the Wildcats' 64-60 double-overtime loss at Stony Brook on Jan. 15, Tyrone Conley (48), Chandler Rhoads (45), Brian Benson (42) and Chris Matagrano (41) all played over 40 minutes. It was the first time four Wildcats played over 40 minutes in a single contest since Matt Acres (58), Doug Wilson (50), Brad Cirino (48), Matt Alosa (45) and Ken Rassi (42) all went over 40 minutes in a 106-103 quadruple-overtime win against Maine on Jan. 19, 1996 at Alfond Arena.
CAREER HIGHS FOR CHRIS
In just his second career start at Stony Brook on Jan. 15, sophomore Chris Matagrano re-wrote nearly his entire career high section, reaching career bests in points (11), field goals made (5), 3-point field goals made (1), rebounds (7), steals (2) and minutes (41). He also matched his career high of one assist.
Senior Tyrone Conley erupted for a career-high 33 points, including 25 in the second half, in the Wildcats' 57-54 win against Hartford on Jan. 11. The 33 points were the eighth most ever for a Wildcat and the most since Nov. 25, 2000 when Austin Ganly poured in 34 in a 96-89 victory at Dartmouth College. The 33 is also the most for an America East player this season, surpassing the 32 points Boston University's Darryl Partin racked up against Cornell on Nov. 27. Conley knocked down a personal-best 10 field goals on 16 attemps and matched his career high with six 3-pointers on 10 tries. The senior co-captain was also 7-for-8 at the line, while tallying five rebounds, two steals and a block in 40 minutes of action.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT
The Wildcats shot 66.7 percent (12-18) from the floor in the second half of their 57-54 win against Hartford on Jan. 11. It was their best field goal percentage in any half since Jan. 28, 2009 when they also hit at a 66.7 percent (14-21) clip in the second stanza to erase a nine-point deficit and earn a 71-60 victory at Stony Brook.
The Wildcats used a 24-2 run that spanned 7:36 to erase a 16-point deficit and beat Hartford, 57-54, Jan. 11. It was the second biggest margin the 'Cats have overcome to record a win this season as they came back from 17 points down in an eventual 55-53 victory at Dartmouth on Nov. 16.
ANOTHER TOUGH BREAK
For the second time this season, the Wildcats lost a leading scorer for the remainder of the year when sophomore Ferg Myrick went down with 4:02 remaining in the contest at Boston U. on Jan. 4 with a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. The 'Cats also lost senior Alvin Abreu to a torn ACL in his right knee during the second game of the season at Dartmouth on Nov. 16.
CAREER NIGHT FOR MORRIS
Freshman Scott Morris put together a career night at Boston U. on Jan. 4. Playing his first real extended minutes of the season, Morris reached career bests in points (14), field goals made (5), 3-point field goals made (4) and minutes (24).
1,000 POINT CLUB
Senior Tyrone Conley became the 28th member of UNH's 1,000 point club 5:41 into the second half at Albany on Jan. 2 when he stole the ball near midcourt and went in for an uncontested one-handed slam.
With their 59-44 loss to Albany on Jan. 2, the Wildcats dropped below .500 for the first time all season. That marks the longest the 'Cats have stayed at or above .500 to open a season since the 1994-95 campaign when they were never fewer than one game above .500.
RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR
The Wildcats went 5-5 before New Year's Day last season, their best record since 1994-95 when they were 6-2 before Jan. 1. The 'Cats have matched that at 6-6 this season and their 68-66 win against Cornell on Dec. 29, gave the program six wins before New Year's Day for the first time since '94-'95.
Virginia native Chandler Rhoads had quite the homecoming at the Richmond Marriott Holidays on the Hardwood Classic at VCU's Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. Rhoads netted 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting, including 2 of 2 from behind the arc, matched his career high with eight rebounds and handed out five assists in the first game against Cornell on Dec. 29. Then against VCU in the championship game the next night, Rhoads poured in a season-best 15 points to go along with five rebounds and a pair of assists.
OFFENSE + DEFENSE = WINS
It has been no secret that the Wildcats have hung their hat on defense this season, leading the conference in scoring defense and ranking second in both field goal percentage defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense. The 'Cats mixed in some efficient offense to record a 68-66 win against Cornell on Dec. 29, shooting a season-high 51 percent (24-47) from the field.
HE DID WHAT?!
Sophomore Ferg Myrick, who has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games this year and 13 of 15 dating back to last season, scored a team-high 14 points against Cornell on Dec. 29 and also dished out a career-high five assists. Myrick's previous best was one assist, which he reached seven times.
In addition to matching his career high with nine rebounds at Central Connecticut State on Dec. 22, junior Brian Benson recorded a career-best five blocked shots, which are the most for a Wildcat since Rob Marquardt swatted five attempts Jan. 10, 2001 in an 87-69 victory against Vermont at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Just after playing his best game of the season with a career-best 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field and a perfect 3 of 3 shooting at the line at Rhode Island on Dec. 18, freshman DeAndray Buckley surpassed that performance with 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in a career-best 28 minutes at Central Connecticut State on Dec. 22.
SATURDAY DAY FEVER
Prior to their 64-52 loss at Rhode Island on Dec. 18, the Wildcats were 4-0 on Saturdays and 3-0 in day games.
DOESN'T ADD UP
Despite holding Rhode Island to the second lowest field goal percentage they have allowed all season at 35.6 percent (21-59), the Wildcats turned the ball over a season-high 17 times, while forcing their fewest turnovers of the season (7).
DOUBLE THE FUN
Senior Dane DiLiegro recorded his third double-double of the season when he posted 10 points and 10 rebounds against Army on Dec. 9. DiLiegro, who also matched his career best with three assists in just 23 minutes due to foul trouble, is inching closer to averaging a double-double for the season with 10.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
Sophomore point guard Chandler Rhoads had one of his better games of the season against Army on Dec. 9. Rhoads, who attended Air Force Prep, netted 10 points and dished out a career-best six assists in a career-high 32 minutes.
With the Wildcats' 65-60 win at Colgate on Dec. 4, head coach Bill Herrion recorded his 300th career win. The 20-year bench boss became the 284th college basketball head coach, including the 72nd active head coach, to reach the 300-win plateau. Herrion also reached another milestone earlier in his career against Colgate, winning his 50th career game at UNH in a 63-55 win at Lundholm Gymnasium on Dec. 30, 2009.
In the Wildcats' 65-60 win at Colgate on Dec. 4, senior Dane DiLiegro matched Matt Alosa, Chris Brown and Jermaine Anderson when he tied the school record for most free throws made in a game without a miss after he was a perfect 12-for-12 at the line. A career 54 percent (109-202) free throw shooter entering the season, DiLiegro is hitting at a 86 percent (30-35) clip this year and ranks second in the conference in the category.
NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER
The Wildcats closed out the month of November with a 4-2 record, their first ever four-win November and just their ninth winning November in the last 39 years.
NEARLY SOMETHING SPECIAL
The Wildcats came very close to knocking off the No. 7-ranked team in the country when they took UConn to the wire before falling 62-55 at Gampel Pavilion on Nov. 30. The Wildcats, who never trailed in the first half, led at the 14:08 mark in the second half and trailed by just one with 8:24 to play in the contest. The 62-point output was the smallest for the Huskies to that point in the season.
How epic would the win against UConn have been for the Wildcats? It would have been the program's first win ever against a ranked opponent, but what's more is that entering the contest, UConn was 112-4 against non-conference New England opponents during the Jim Calhoun era, in addition to owning a 134-18 record, including 65-4 against non-conference foes, all-time at Gampel Pavilion.
WALKING THE LINE
Against UConn on Nov. 30, Kemba Walker — the nation's leading scorer coming into the game (30.0 ppg) — netted 30 points, but picked up 14 of them at the charity stripe. While Walker was 7 of 16 from the floor, the rest of his team combined for 32 points on 12 of 34 shooting.
Despite converting three more field goals, including five more 3-pointers, holding a 39-38 edge in the rebounding department, including 18-12 on the offensive glass, and turning the ball over just 13 times, while forcing 12 turnovers, the Wildcats suffered a 62-55 loss at No. 7 UConn on Nov. 30. How? UConn sank 18 more free throws after being sent to the line 20 more times than UNH.
Prior to tipping off with UConn on Nov. 30, the Wildcats were shooting 24.8 percent (26-105) from behind then arc. The 'Cats then proceeded to shoot 50 percent (8-16) from deep against the Huskies.
Sophomore Ferg Myrick looked like he belonged, especially in the second half, when the Wildcats battled seventh-ranked UConn on Nov. 30. Myrick poured in a season-high 19 points, including 16 in the second half on 6 of 9 shooting, against the Big East power. Myrick also set career highs in 3-pointers made (3) and steals (4), while matching his career best with eight rebounds.
WHEN THE LIGHTS GO ON
Senior James Valladares scored a career-high 12 points — all in the first half — in the Wildcats' 62-55 loss at No. 7 UConn on Nov. 30. Valladares made five of his first six shots and netted UNH's final 10 points of the half.
MOVIN' ON UP
Senior Dane DiLiegro grabbed 10 boards at UConn on Nov. 30 to move past Matt Acres, who recorded 680 rebounds from 1994-98, and into sixth place on UNH's all-time list.
ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D
In the Wildcats' 70-66 win against Brown on Nov. 27, senior Dane DiLiegro posted his second double-double of the season (10th of his career), as well as his second game-winning basket of 2010-11. DiLiegro reached game and season highs in both points and rebounds with 23 points and 12 boards. DiLiegro, who gave UNH a 55-53 victory at Dartmouth on Nov. 16 with a layup with 1.5 seconds remaining, made the go-ahead bucket with 2.8 seconds on the clock.
STEALING THE SHOW
In the 70-66 win against Brown on Nov. 27, senior Tyrone Conley, who poured in a season-high 19 points, tallied a career-high five steals, including one off a Brown inbounds pass at midcourt with one second remaining that sealed the victory.
HOLDIN' IT DOWN
The Wildcats held their first four opponents of the season under 55 points for the first time since the 1947-48 season when they held their first six opponents under 55.
For the second time on the road this year, the Wildcats attempted to erase a 17-point deficit and used a big run to get back into the game at Sacred Heart on Nov. 23. Trailing 36-19 at the half, the 'Cats stormed out of the locker room on a 15-2 run that spanned the first 8:52 of the half. During that stretch, UNH forced 10 turnovers and caused Sacred Heart to shoot 1-for-5 (.200) from the floor. Overall, the Wildcats allowed just two second-half field goals as the Pioneers shot 2-for-14 (.143) and went 12:24 between those two makes.
The Wildcats won their first three games of the season for the first time since the 1971-72 campaign. The 'Cats also held all three oponents under 55 points, the first time they started 3-0 and allowed fewer than 55 points in each game since the 1931-32 season.
HERRION CLIMBING WINS LIST
By defeating Holy Cross, 55-52, Nov. 20, head coach Bill Herrion recorded his 61st victory at UNH and moved into fourth on the school's all-time wins list, passing Bill Olsen, who won 60 games in six seasons from 1960-66. Herrion now trails only Gerry Friel (188), William Cowell (119), and Henry Swasey (108) in the record books.
The Wildcats held their opponents to 62.4 ppg last year, the lowest since the 1950-51 season when they limited foes to 60.3 ppg. Records prior to 1960-61 were incomplete at the end of last season.
HERRION VS. WILDCATS' 2010-11 OPPONENTS
Coming into the season, Bill Herrion owns a 112-78 (.589) record against the Wildcats' possible 2010-11 opponents.
HOOPS FOR HOPE
The University of New Hampshire's Wildcat Sports Properties and Holy Rosary Credit Union (HRCU) have teamed up to create a community-inspired basketball promotion to benefit the St. Charles Children's Home with a donation of $1 for every point scored by the UNH men's basketball team throughout the season.
"We're proud to partner with UNH's Wildcat Sports to provide support for St. Charles Children's Home in Rochester. Hoops for Hope is our way of showing our commitment to sports, education and the children of the communities we serve," said Brian Hughes, President and CEO of HRCU.
After each game, the points scored will be tallied and recorded on a "Hoops for Hope" banner housed in Lundholm Gymnasium. So far this season, $1,635 has been donated.
DEMPSEY ON COLLEGE CHALKTALK
Associate Head Coach Ken Dempsey will be blogging at various points of the season on College Chalktalk. To follow along with Dempsey's entries, visit www.CollegeChalkTalk.com/coachesDiary/new_hampshire.
UNH HOOPS ON WILDCATS.TV
UNH and Pack Network have once again partnered to provide online video streaming of UNH's seven ticketed sports for the upcoming 2009-10 season with UNHwildcats.Tv. Wildcat fans are encouraged to buy the "Wildcat All-Access Pass" which is an annual subscription for $89.95 that provides all the live coverage of UNH home athletic events. Fans can also purchase home events on a per game basis of $7.95.
WILDCAT BASKETBALL ON THE AIR
In the summer of 1999, the University of New Hampshire Athletic Department formed the "UNH Sports Network" — the largest network ever to broadcast UNH sporting events. Wildcats Sports Properties has added WGIN-AM 930 (Rochester) and WQSO-FM 96.7 (Portsmouth) as flagship stations on the Wildcat Sports Network, joining WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester), which was added in 2008. All three stations are part of the Clear Channel family and this change will go into effect at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. These three aforementioned stations – along with WUVR-AM 1490 (Lebanon), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WCNL-AM 1010 (Newport) – will carry the following: all UNH football & men's hockey broadcasts and weekly coaches' shows, a select number of men's basketball, women's basketball, and women's hockey broadcasts, as well as "Wildcat Sports Today", a three-minute daily update concerning UNH athletics. The games can also be heard on the internet at www.UNHWildcats.com, through a service from Stretch Internet. Stretch has also partnered with UNH to develop a podcast page for UNH fans to listen to archived broadcasts. Veteran play-by-play man Jim Jeannotte will return for his 30th year broadcasting UNH men's basketball. Jeannotte will be joined by color analyst Mike Murphy, who enters his 11th season calling Wildcat men's hoop.
WILDCAT BASKETBALL STREAMING LIVE
UNHWildcats.com, via Stretch Internet Broadcast, will carry 10 UNH men's basketball home games, as well as a pair of road contests this season. If you cannot attend Wildcat basketball, you can still tune into the game from anywhere you can gain access to the internet. Fans can get to the UNH men's basketball broadcast site by going to the men's basketball schedule page at www.UNHWildcats.com.